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Amy Adams makes first contact in the stunning Arrival, which sets down on Virgin Movies this week. When 12 extra-terrestrial spacecraft appear in the sky above the Earth, mass panic grips the globe. The U.S. army are at a loss and don’t know how to deal with the escalating crisis. Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) contacts renowned linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) in the hope that she will have some insight into how they might communicate with the aliens aboard the spacecraft.
Along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), the team head to a military camp near one of the spacecraft. Their mission is to find out why the spacecraft have arrived and whether they pose a threat to mankind.
They make contact with two aliens and Louise discovers that they have their own written language using complex circular symbols. Gradually she begins to learn the symbols and piece together their vocabulary. However, there is disagreement as to the meaning of the messages they receive from the aliens – are they making a threat or offering help? Time is running out and there is growing pressure to launch an attack on the spaceships. It falls to Louise to act as interpreter and try to prevent a catastrophic war that could jeopardise the entire planet.
What do we think?
Arrival is the thinking person’s sci-fi, it’s not afraid to tackle big, complex ideas, but it does it through a lens of human emotion that means it engages the heart as well as the brain. The emotional impact of the film is largely down to a captivating lead performance by Amy Adams, nobody does it better than Adams. She makes the mind-boggling notion of an alien visitation totally believable and gripping. Adams’ performance is quietly heroic and completely enthralling.
Director Denis Villeneuve knows exactly how to ramp up the tension in a film, but he always does it with intelligence, just as he did in Prisoners and Sicario. This is a smart, thought-provoking film that chooses substance over flashy special effects and is so much the better for it.
- The American Film Institute selected Arrival as one of its ten Movies of the Year in 2016.
- A fully-functioning alien language was created for the film, using over 100 different symbols, many of which are seen in the film.
- It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
- Amy Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
- The film is given a rating of 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Director Denis Villeneuve is currently working on the Blade Runner reboot, Blade Runner 2049.
- Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner previously co-starred in American Hustle.